Last weekend, a group of Tampa Bay Buccaneers representatives enjoyed a day in the park, a brisk bike ride and, most of all, an opportunity to add their support to a very worthwhile local cause.
Taking part in an event supported by Coca-Cola, a Buccaneers Pewter Partner, nine team employees formed the Buccaneers Cycling Team and rode 25 miles through Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park. They were participating in the "Cycling Out Autism" event that was organized by the Interbay Rotary Club in order to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder and funds for affected families.
Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford headed up a strong team of cyclists that also included P.J. Barnard, Jessica Beers, Dan Boyd, Paul Forand, Kristin Houston, Katie Kramer, Caleb Quaid and Nik Robbins. By lining up sponsors for their ride, the group raised funds that will be distributed to The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, The Applied Behavior Analysis Program at the University of South Florida and the Sydney's Academy. These organizations work to deliver education, services and support to children and their families touched by autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is currently being diagnosed in one out of 88 children. It's cause is not known and no cure exists at this point. The Cycling Out Autism event recognizes that far fewer research dollars are currently being devoted to the issue of autism than such other pediatric concerns as cancer and diabetes. Through the efforts of such citizens as the Buccaneers Cycling Team, the challenges faced by families affected by autism receive greater recognition in our community.